Last Sunday afternoon AlertsUSA subscribers were informed of a car bomb explosion outside of Liverpool Women's Hospital in northwest England. In this incident, a taxi carrying a passenger arrived at the main entrance roundabout of the hospital. At that moment, an improvised explosive device carried by the passenger partially detonated, blowing out the windows of the automobile and engulfing the vehicle in flames. The explosion killed the bomber and injured the driver.
The suspect, identified as 32-year old Emad Al Swealmeen, was an asylum seeker from the Middle East whose application had been repeatedly refused, first in 2014, then again during an appeal in 2015. Records obtained by the BBC show the bomber then supposedly converted to Christianity in 2017. Some outlets speculate this may have been a ruse to bolster his asylum case.
On Monday, AlertsUSA subscribers were informed that the UK's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency, MI5, raised the terrorism threat level for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from SUBSTANTIAL TO SEVERE, meaning additional attacks are highly likely.
Also on Monday, AlertsUSA subscribers were informed that the U.S. Embassy in London had issued a security alert urging American citizens in the UK to maintain a low profile and increased situational awareness when in public places.
Investigators believe the hospital was not the original target, as just a short distance away is Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, which was hosting a Remembrance Day service with around 1,200 people at the time of the blast.
Additionally, the design of the explosive device, the composition of the explosive material, along with other details of the attack are leading investigators to believe this was the work of an organized terrorist cell rather than a "lone wolf".
The explosive used in this incident is believed to be TATP, or triacetone triperoxide. The material is also referred to as the Mother of Satan due to the high detonation velocity, as well as susceptibility to accidental detonation. TATP can explode powerfully if subjected to heat, friction, static electricity, strong UV radiation or shock. TATP is the explosive of choice for jihadists in the west due to the widespread availability of the ingredients needed in it's production. In July 2011, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula actually published the recipe in the sixth edition of Inspire Magazine.
High profile incidents of peroxide-based explosives being used against Western targets include the 2001 attempt to bring down a flight from Paris to Miami by "shoe bomber" Richard Reed, and the 2009 attempt to bring down a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit by underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
More recent jihadist attacks in the west involving TATP include:
- 2015 Paris Attacks
- 2016 Brussels Airport Attack
- 2017 Manchester Concert Bombing
- 2017 Brussels Central Station Attack
- 2017 Barcelona Car-Ramming Attack and Cambrils Stabbing
- 2017 Parsons Green, London Underground Attempted Bombing
AlertsUSA once again reminds readers of the threat we face in the U.S. from similar attacks due to the unchecked migrant crisis along the U.S. / Mexico border, not to mention the tens of thousands of improperly vetted Afghan refugees now being resettled across the country. Just last month, AlertsUSA reported on Panama's apprehension of 52 individuals appearing on the U.S. terrorist watch list and biometrically linked to Al Qaeda, headed for the U.S. border.
Despite all of the effort at securing the nation over the past 20 years, the biggest safety feature the U.S. and Canada had was that of geography. But once in this hemisphere, getting into the U.S. would seem to be pretty simple, as evidenced by the 1.7 million illegal aliens from dozens of countries who were encountered along the U.S. southern border in the last fiscal year. This says nothing of the radicals already in the U.S. and Europe who have been emboldened by the Afghanistan pullout debacle.
AlertsUSA again cautions subscribers to maintain a high level of situational awareness when in crowded public venues, and in particular, those associated with holiday events. Just last month, the media arm of the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), released a video featuring its senior official, Sudanese national and former Guantanamo detainee Ibrahim Al-Qousi, congratulating the Taliban for taking over Afghanistan and threatening the U.S. with attacks more painful than 9/11.
AlertsUSA continues to monitor the domestic and international threat environment around the clock and will immediately notify service subscribers, via SMS messages to their mobile devices, of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.